Bioprocessing Separations Consortium, Three-Year Overview: Technical Advances, Process Economics Influence, and State of the Science

Eric Karp, Gregg Beckham, Ryan Davis, Stefano Dell'Orco, Abhijit Dutta, Chaiwat Engtrakul, Stefan Haugen, Kimberly Magrini, William Michener, Hanna Monroe, Braden Peterson, Patrick Saboe, Michael Sprague, Nolan Wilson, Edward Barry, Louis Edano, Patricia Ignacio-deLeon, Phil Laible, YuPo Lin, Lauren ValentinoJim Coons, Taraka Dale, Cade Gasway, Benjamin Yap, Todd Pray, Ning Sun, Eric Sundstrom, Jipeng Yan, Ryan Davis, Vanda Glezakou, Suh-Jane Lee, Jian Liu, Marie Swita, Michael Thorson, Huamin Wang, Charlie Freeman, Michael Hu, Brian Bischoff, Jae-Soon Choi, Zhenglong Li, Ting Wu, Tim Theiss, Eric Tan, Sue Jones, Mary Biddy, Jennifer Dunn

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The Bioprocessing Separations Consortium solves separations challenges that are unique to bioprocessing. To do this, the Consortium uses two methods: applying existing technologies to new challenges and developing new technologies that may address these unique challenges better than today’s commercial technologies. In its research and development, the Consortium leverages its three core capabilities: materials development and evaluation, process development, and analysis and computation. In its first three years, from 2016 to 2019, the Consortium addressed four critical challenges in biochemical and thermochemical processing. First, the Consortium targeted the fractionation of lignin to enable valorization of this portion of biomass that offers diverse, complex, and valuable building blocks and products. Second, Consortium researchers developed technologies to enable process intensification, which can reduce equipment needs, energy consumption, and waste generation, thereby cutting bioprocessing capital costs and rendering processes more efficient. Third, the Consortium sought to recover carbon from dilute aqueous streams that are common to bioprocessing; recovering dilute carbon can improve process efficiency and economics. Finally, Consortium researchers designed and developed new materials and catalysts to reduce targeted foulants and poisons in bioprocessing streams that can limit the lifetime of downstream catalysts or fermenting microorganisms. Table 1 lists the technologies that were examined and places them in the context of the Consortium’s capabilities, types of bioprocesses, and critical challenges in bioprocessing separations. Overall, across these projects, we have developed separations technologies for 10 bioprocesses, addressed 9 target compounds in bioprocessing, developed 10 materials, and evaluated 4 processes for cost and sustainability.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages65
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Report published by Argonne National Laboratory:

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-2800-76532

Other Report Number

  • ANL-20/24


  • bioprocessing
  • research portfolio overview
  • separations consortium


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